THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 2012 marks the 65th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Russia (then USSR). Travancore also played a small role in the process in that the first Soviet Embassy opened in the Travancore House, a palace of the Travancore royal family in Delhi.
Marking the anniversary, the Russian Cultural Centre here has opened an exhibition of photographs on the growth of the Indo-Russian ties over the decades.
The Soviet Embassy was, in fact, opened on April 12, 1947, four months before India gained independence from British rule. ‘’Travancore House hosted the Soviet Embassy for some years, and the first Russian Cultural Centre in New Delhi was also opened here,’’ Russia’s Consul in Thiruvananthapuram Ratheesh C Nair said.
Kiril Novikov was the first Soviet Ambassador to India (Vijayalakshmi Pandit was his Indian counterpart in Moscow) and served from 1947 to 1953. Ties between the people of the two nations have historical precedents.
Way back in 1466, a Russian merchant from the city of Tver, Afanasy Nikitin, left his home to travel to India. ‘’There was also contact between the Mughal emperors and the Tsars of Russia,’’ Ratheesh C Nair said. Circa 1900, Tsar Nicholas II opened a Consulate in Bombay, which was later moved to Calcutta when the British made it their capital city.
The photo exhibition is open from 10 am to 5 pm till April 13. On Wednesday, Shashi Tharoor MP will inaugurate a seminar on ‘Indo-Russian relations in the 21st century’ at the Russian Cultural Centre at 11.30 am on Wednesday.
Former Ambassador Bhadrakumar will be guest of honour. The seminar is organised jointly by the centre and Kerala University’s V K Krishna Menon Centre for International Studies.